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Michael Torke's Color Music

Michael Torke , David Zinman , Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 2010 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1991 --  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Torke: Green MusicBaltimore Symphony Orchestra11:55Album Only
listen  2. Torke: PurpleBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 6:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Torke: Ecstatic OrangeBaltimore Symphony Orchestra11:01Album Only
listen  4. Torke: AshBaltimore Symphony Orchestra14:57Album Only
listen  5. Torke: Bright Blue MusicBaltimore Symphony Orchestra 9:07Album Only

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Zinman
  • Composer: Michael Torke
  • Audio CD (October 11, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Argo
  • ASIN: B000004CVR
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,018 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Torke (b. 1961) writes some of the more interesting minimalism being done today. His punctuated rhythms are always framed around a tonal, melodic core and are as colorful as the titles of the works. But Torke is a bit more than a minimalist; he knows jazz inside and out and makes use of syncopation and even Modern dance rhythms as in Ecstatic Orange. The performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is quite good, but the booklet notes are obscure and of no help to anyone. Still, the music is what counts. Start here if Torke is new to you. -- Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music of chaos and complexity October 1, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I was turned on to Michael Torke's music when I saw the San Francisco Ballet dance to several numbers from this CD. Ash is my favorite. I can still close my eyes and see the complex interweavings of form and chaos that the dancers so beautifully performed. But it was the music that captured my imagination. It spoke to me of the complexity of our times. I listen to this CD often. Unfortunately, the SF Ballet company does not sell videos of their works.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zinman and Argo work well July 14, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I have had this CD for a while, and it remains to be one of my favorite in the collection. Bright, perky, and with a little bit of jazziness, the pieces come off well. The pieces themselves might resemble something minimalist, but it definately has a forward movement. This propulsion is powered mainly by motifs and colorful chords, and less by melody. While some may find this drab and boring, it is really just another way of listening to music. Unlike wrapping your mind around an atonal piece, you just have to relax and let it flow.
Torke claims to have a synthesis of his senses (which is uncommon but not rare) in that he hears colors, and thus different sounds resemble different colors. Hence the name of the music. Realize of course that the titles refer to the color that he perceives, and is open for interpretation.
One of the great attributes of the disk is David Zinman and the Baltimore Orchestra. They sounds great and the engineering provided by Argo results in a crisp clean sound that has a punctuated freshness to it.
The individual pieces vary in tempo and mood, from exciting and invigorating to mellow and relaxed. They are not necessarily intended to go together in a set, and in fact there are other "color" pieces that Torke has written. Take them as you will, but they form a nice package for the disk.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars vibrant hues December 24, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Michael Torke is an up and coming composer of twentieth century music. By combining the jazz rhythms which have given American music a style all its own with the brilliant orchestral timbres of a classical orchestra, Torke proves that classical music is not dead, but, on the contrary, very much alive! I have gained a whole new respect for minimalism because of this cd. It is the subtleties and the unusual sonorities in his work that brings his colorful titles to life. I would highly recommend this cd to any open-minded music lover.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Check it out April 7, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Having played Ecstatic Orange myself was what originally led me to buy this CD. The music may seem rather repetitive and perhaps even annoying after a while (you may even wonder if the composer was drunk or something), but one should keep an open mind. It does have structure and it does make sense if you care to listen. Baltimore plays it quite well, but I can understand why some may not like it. Just remember nobody especially liked Mahler or Stravinsky when their pieces first appeared either. Whether Torke will someday be considered a composer in the ranks of Beethoven or Shostakovich is completely impossible to say, but if you have an interest in something a bit different, go ahead and check this disc out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elemental and Complete April 3, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Yes, two of the five works here also appear on the Javelin album. That leaves three works uncovered: Purple, Ash, and Ecstatic Orange. So the choice to acquire this album in addition to Javelin is ultimately driven by a referendum on the merit of these three works in their own right. For my money, the acquisition of this earlier album is more than justified by the presence of Ash. What makes Ash distinctive is the clever Beethovenian conceit that Torke dishes up. The illusion of linear progress is created in individual sections, but at the macro level this sense of purpose, like water to a thirsty Tantalus, is pulled away. Form follows function, however, and Torke is putting the Beethovenian idiom to an entirely different use than the archetype did. This is assuredly not parody, but a transmutation in the service of a fresh, modern aesthetic. It's as if the IDEA of Debussy's impressionism is being realized with Beethovenesque building blocks (cobbled from the idiom farthest removed from Debussy's).
On this album, the best works are Green, Ash, and Bright Blue music, in that order. Ecstatic Orange stands out as the dissonant member of the set, while Purple comes off as an effective interlude (a breather, as it were) bridging the effervescent Green to Ecstatic Orange. While some have inferred associative relationships between music and color on Torke's part, I don't think we should lump him in with Scriabin on this account. I've written a series of compositions named after Los Angeles area freeways, but there is no deeper meaning to be sought in that circumstance.
With the recent release of "Jasper" on Naxos, it's no longer true that all the orchestral Color Music of Torke's can be found on this one album. But the best selection of it is surely to be found on this CD...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to Hear Here, Folks, except at the End January 26, 2013
Format:Audio CD
The focus of the reviews here is of course the music itself rather than the performances, which I don't think can really be faulted. And for me and my untrained ears, the sad conclusion is that the only piece of any real value is the last, Bright Blue Music. The least minimalist -- sounds like a double negative -- work on the album, it actually speaks in almost conventional, traditional idiom and goes somewhere emotionally, a trait not particularly shared by its companions, which pretty much just run in place and suffer their own musical analogue to Tourette Syndrome, never fulfilling the promise of their beginnings. That being the case, I don't know that it's worth it to buy a disc for just nine minutes of music, or to sit through almost two-thirds of an hour to finally reach it at the end. Well, actually, I think I do know: It's not.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes me happy just to listen
I am in awe of his ability to see colors...
his reflections of them make me happy just to listen.
Published 13 months ago by Rev. Judith DeMarco
3.0 out of 5 stars New Music for Steven Bochko to love
What would Michael Torke do if he ever lost his score for Stravinsky's Symphony In C ? He wouldn't have anything to spice up the Bernstein-ism's with ! Read more
Published on November 25, 2006 by jive rhapsodist
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond minimalism
This is music that you can listen without being annoyed. This is genuinely beautiful music, with a great orchestration, with moving masses of sounds that move in parallel with the... Read more
Published on April 20, 2006 by D. Battaglia
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting minimalism, if there is such a thing
"You know, I'm no art critic, but I know what I hate. And I don't hate this." --- C. Montgomery Burns, from "Brush With Greatness."
That about sums it up. Read more
Published on October 6, 2003 by chefdevergue
1.0 out of 5 stars Come Prepared
I do not imbibe when I listen to music. I suspect that one could enjoy this drivel if one smoked enough [...] or consumed enough alcohol. Read more
Published on January 28, 2003 by Ralph Hawkes
2.0 out of 5 stars rock minimalism
The thing about Torke is that he "tries too hard to get people to like him." Furthermore, his rationale, albeit honest in his intentions of departing from academic... Read more
Published on July 30, 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars this cd is a waste of money
the music contained on this cd can only be described as musical wallpaper -- musical patterns of no or little significance -- only the wallpaper michael torke designs must be... Read more
Published on March 29, 1999
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